His carers lifted the animal onto the wheeled board on Tuesday, relieving pressure on its shoulder muscles. After being whipped with the tires, the turtle rushed to the prepared lettuce and zucchini.
Orthopedic technician Ulrich Schade read that Helmuth had arthritis and designed and built the skateboard in collaboration with veterinarian Judith and Apnitz. “We are happy that everything went well and that Hellmouth can eat grass in the meadow again in warm temperatures,” says the doctor on the zoo’s website.
The tortoise has not been able to breed itself independently since January. It’s been raised on a four-wheeled plank for the past few weeks, but that has only worked on smooth interior surfaces. Now a solution has also been found for the outside, which “adapts to the body in such a way that the turtle cannot turn on it,” Wapnitz explains. “He’s even mastered a little slope – he’s a real fighter.”
With adequate training, Helmuth may be able to do without his new aid in the future, as the doctor concludes with hope.
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